In Julia Stone’s scene
from pastoral England, she witnesses one fucked up event and its truly horrific effect.
BY JULIA STONE
They Were All Bitches,
So I Donked Them On The Head
I just don’t know what I have seen that is so fucked up. I
have never seen a dead body, except when our mum took us to see great
grandmother when we were little. I have never seen anyone in a fight, although I
did see my ex-boyfriend get hit over the head with a baseball bat. Hmm… I
haven’t really seen any super-powered light shoot from the sky…
Oh-there was that time we all trekked for hours to a little
beach, in Cornwall in the south of England
to watch a meteor shower. Now that was pretty amazing. Every minute we would
see ten or twenty shooting stars, and it went for over three hours. We lay upon
the stones on the beach and watched the stars fall like the earth was coming to
its beautiful last chapter.
We woke up the next morning and the world had continued to
twist in circles around the golden light though there was the sense that we had
seen something grand. We sat quietly amongst the smell of burning wood on our
jackets and fire in the boys’ beards. That was fucked up in the most beautiful
way possible, like the stars were ballet dancers dying with each pirouette
while the space around them sang a song called “To Kill the Harsh Beat of
I didn’t see this, but it is disturbing enough in my memory
to repeat: Mum told us about growing up on the farm, said when she was little
she watched her uncle pick up one of the working dogs and snap his neck in
front of all the kids because the dog was jumping up at him, messing around. He
is a tough man, our great uncle.
I remember visiting the farm when we were wee little ones.
There are always a few working dogs on the farm. One of them had just given
birth. I could tell by the size of her nipples; they were swollen and milk was
dripping out. I asked Uncle Alec where the puppies were. He replied, “They were
all bitches, so I donked them on the head.”
He had hit all the little puppies over the head with a
hammer because they were girls. I cried that night wishing we could have come
up to the farm just a bit sooner so I could have saved them all.
Now that I’ve started writing about this, memories are
rushing back from the times on the farm as kids. I remember watching grandpa
step on a huge rat as it was running across the lawn. The poor little rat’s
head filled up with blood and brains and exploded in front of me. Oh,
dear…all these repressed memories. The dead chicken stuck to our dog’s neck.
The funnel web spider living in a bubble on the bottom of the pool. The dog
that drowned in the creek.
Oh…now I remember. The most fucked thing I have ever seen
was when I was about ten. Our parents took us to stay with old friends of mum’s
who ran a big sheep farm-we were visiting on our Easter holidays. It was
beautiful there: sprawling land, spotted with fluffy white sheep. I loved sheep
as a child. We had a pet sheep that had died a couple of years earlier. I loved
all animals, like most kids do.
This family we were staying with had four children. They
were wild stock-totally loose and scary. They had grown up as farmer kids and
looking back I got the impression they didn’t get off the farm much. One of the
girls was my age: Patrice. I suppose by default we spent some time together,
but I wouldn’t say we became friends; all those kids kinda creeped me out.
One day I came out of the house and I saw her standing a
couple of hundred metres away, near the shed. She was watching something in
front of her. I could see movement and hear a strange version of what sounded
like a goat or sheep crying. As I got closer my eyes started to focus on what
she was watching. Her father had a sheep in between his legs-holding it while
it bucked about, bleating with agonizing fear, knowing that his time was coming
to a close. In one hand her dad held a huge knife-the other was pulling up the
chin of the sheep and stretching out the neck and throat.
I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. I was scared and
wanted to shout out to let him go, but I couldn’t make out the words.
What happened next-the gruesome slicing open of the sheep’s
throat-was pretty fucked up! Her father was standing on a concrete slab, its
purpose, unknown to me previously, now serving its function as the blood
spilled over the edges and into the browned mud around it.
The murder of the sheep was highly traumatic-but that wasn’t
the most fucked up thing, What I saw next is what has remained with me all
these years. As I turned towards young Patrice in search of kinship in this
sadness, I saw that where my eyes had been crying, her eyes were gleaming. Her
mouth was shaped in the distinct form of a smile, and not any smile-it was the
smile of a girl who is delighted by what she sees, a smile and eyes that can
only encompass one word: Glee, as one would see on the face of child for whom Christmas
had come early.
Dumbfounded, I turned back to the bleeding sounds of the
sheep as the blade sliced into the belly-the skin folding open and the muscles
Angus & Julia
Stone’s new album Down The Way is
released this week on Nettwerk Records. Visit their official website here: